On 9 April, ESLITE GALLERY will present a solo exhibition of the Chinese artist based in New York, LIN Yan, presenting 30 works with xuan paper as the major medium. This is LIN's first solo show in Taiwan, and she will exhibit works spanning 20 years from 1996 to date. The viewers can witness the artist's experimental progress of transforming xuan paper, medium of thousands of years of history in Chinese culture, into contemporary installations and sculptures.
LIN Yan was born in Beijing in 1961. After graduating from The Central Academy of Fine Arts, LIN pursued further studies at L'École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Then, she obtained her master's degree from the Department of Art Studio at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, USA. Subsequently she moved to New York, committing herself to exploring and experimenting xuan paper in her work.
In 1994, LIN returned to Beijing, and to her dismay, the once familiar city was virtually ruined in urban modernization. The urge to respond to the changes swelled inside her. She began to cast, with paper, the partial objects of old buildings in Beijing, such as roof tiles and rivets.
“It was 1994. In Beijing, the old buildings and culture was replaced by the skyscrapers mushrooming here and there. I felt shocked and unnerved. I wish our city could have been cared, rather than sabotaged in such ways!”
To Beijing #1- Cradle Song, 1996, Mixed Media on Paper with Chrome, 116.84 × 365.8 cm
“My sensitivity to architectural elements bears on my home and culture, as well as my experiences and expressions at different stages.”
Monument #8, 2008, Ink, Xuan Paper, Gauze, 200 × 145 × 20 cm
Monument #8 (Detail), 2008, Ink, Xuan Paper, Gauze, 200 × 145 × 20 cm
In addition to the brick walls in Beijing, LIN Yan also casts the floor of her Brooklyn studio, creating sculpture paintings armed with industrial character.
City View #2, 2011, Xuan Paper, 145 × 80 cm
City View #2 (Detail), 2011, Xuan Paper, 145 × 80 cm
“The xuan paper in my hands has changed from the medium of painting into the subject of a work. Its layers and texture are implicitly rich and versatile, its vocabulary enlarging our aesthetic scope. My feeling about painting, my passion for space and colors interact with these elements. A kind of penetrating truth is embodied through the paper’s handcraft quality and imperfect arbitrariness.”
Drizzling #2, 2015, Xuan Paper on Linen, 132 × 132 cm
Drizzling #2 (Detail), 2015, Xuan Paper on Linen, 132 × 132 cm
“I try to express most thoughts via least elements, exploring something uncertain in the process.”
Kongqu, 2016, Xuan Paper, String Light, 30 × 1156 × 20 cm
Installation View of Kongqu and Pondering at ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan, 2016
“Black and white, steel, brick, and soft paper—their combination is like tai chi, performing the balance of yin and yang in life and in art.”
Installation View of Pondering at ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan, 2016
Pondering (Detail), 2016, Xuan Paper, Ink, 330 × 30 × 16 cm
“Even though I employ the devices of traditional painting and framing, I have transformed the traditional role of paper. Wrinkling, breaking, tearing, and pasting—what should be avoided in painting—become my vocabulary. The material, though fragile in appearance, is exactly my means to express firmness, steadiness, and valuable things.”
Dew, 2015, Xuan Paper and Ink on Linen, 193 × 147 × 40 cm
“I am convinced that people are moved not by my techniques, but by my work’s tangibility that lessens our interpersonal gap. Every nuance of the paper in my hand resembles a painterly stroke—it is how a work narrates itself.”
Leaves Are Gone #2(Detail), 2012, Xuan Paper, Nails on Linen, 147.5 × 193 cm
Monument #6, 2008, Xuan Paper, Wax, 47 × 47 × 13 cm
Air from Inside, 2013, Xuan Paper, 154 × 76 cm
“Life and art are essentially one thing. Who you are is inevitably revealed in your art.”
Leaves Are Gone, 2009, Ink, Xuan Paper and Plexiglass, 184.5 × 108 × 11 cm
“Even though paper may endure a thousand year, it can return to the nature ultimately. Not a hint of trace left. This is how I want my life to end as well.”
Passing By, 2014, Ink, Xuan Paper, 40 × 337 cm
Installation View of “LIN Yan” Solo Show at ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan, 2016
LIN Yan was born into a distinguished family of artists in Beijing in 1961. Her maternal grandfather, PANG Xunqin, and maternal grandmother, QIU Ti, were the pioneers of Chinese modern art; her parents, LIN Gang and PANG Dao, were the first-generation artists nourished by Chinese high art education. As the third generation of the family, LIN Yan has inherited their aesthetic spirit since childhood, but she was confident to establish an idiosyncratic artistic vocabulary. She turns xuan paper into subject material, creating sculpture paintings armed with architectural characters, expanding the domains of contemporary art. After graduating from The Central Academy of Fine Arts, LIN pursued further studies at L'École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and then obtained her master's degree from the Department of Art Studio at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, USA.
Date | 9 April—8 May 2016
Opening | 3pm Sat 9 April
Venue | ESLITE GALLERY | 5F, No. 11 Songgao Road, Taipei 11073 Taiwan
Opening Hours | 11am—7pm, Tuesdays—Sundays (closed on Mondays)
References (in Mandarin):
"Interview with Lin Yan" in Lin Yan and Wei Jia: A Garden Window published by Kwai Fung Art Publishing House in 2015.
"Liu Libin: Interview with Lin Yan" in Invisible—Chinese Abstract Paintings published by OneMoon Contemporary in Beijing in 2006.